Pearl Jam singer scales back at solo NY show
By Jonathan Cohen
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder relied on little more than his voice and guitar during the third show of his summer solo tour in New York on Monday.
His performance at the United Palace Theatre boasted 28 tracks filled with obscure Pearl Jam songs, covers and material from his "Into the Wild" soundtrack.
Early on, Vedder showed his appreciation for the attentive (and non-shouting audience), joking, "We left all the a--holes behind in Boston," where the tour began on Friday.
But there were plenty of opportunities for audience participation, particularly on Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door," the Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," Pearl Jam's "Porch," and "No More," dedicated to injured Iraq War veteran Tomas Young.
With Vedder alternating among electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and ukulele, a number of Pearl Jam songs that don't work as well as loud rock performances found new life in this scaled-down environment, including "Dead Man," "Drifting" and "Man of the Hour." Covers of Daniel Johnston's "Walking the Cow," James Taylor's "Millworker" and Cat Stevens' "Trouble" reinforced the intimate vibe.
Vedder also played a snippet of the title song from the comedy "Walk Hard," in a nod to the film's director Judd Apatow and co-star Paul Rudd, who were in the audience.
Opening act Liam Finn joined Vedder for two songs from "Into the Wild," the bittersweet "Society" and a full rock version of "Hard Sun," with guest vocals by Eliza-Jane Barnes.
Vedder's tour continues through August 22 in Chicago. Before the end of the year, Pearl Jam is hoping to return to the studio to continue work on its next studio album with producer Brendan O'Brien.
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